Sankalpa: Going Beyond New Year’s Resolutions

Sankalpa: Going Beyond New Year’s Resolutions

“San” refers to a connection that we make to support our highest truth. “Kapla” means a vow or rule to be followed above all other rules.

 “By definition, a Sankalpa should honor the deeper meaning of our life. A Sankalpa speaks to the larger arc of our lives, our dharma – our overriding purpose for being here.” – Rod Stryker 

New Year’s is the time when sixty percent of the population makes their own resolutions. 

At the top of the resolution list is losing weight, money management, diet, and exercise. 

Strikingly, only eight percent will achieve them, according to Psychology Today

Timothy Pychyl, a professor of psychology at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada says that, “Resolutions are a form of ‘cultural procrastination,’ an effort to reinvent oneself.” Peter Herman, professor of psychology at the University of Toronto concurs. “When people’s resolutions are significantly unrealistic and are out of alignment with their internal view of themselves, they have ‘false hope syndrome.’” 

Yogic tradition emphasizes repetition through practice, connecting oneself to the universe through self-realization. There is a constant duality between the quest for gratitude, contentment, and joy and the dissatisfactions caused by expectations and worldly possessions. What we own, owns us. Yoga and union are synonymous; our intentions–or Sankalpa–align us with our dharma: our true purposes in life. 

Jim Kulackoski of the Darshan Center in Chicago defines Sankalpa as the “desire, intention, or conscious tendency that causes action.” A fully-engaged Sankalpa with pure intention has a ripple effect that touches others deeply. The tradition of focusing on intention instead of the fruit of the action is a theme of the ancient yoga text, the Bhagavad-Gita. “You have control over action alone, never over its fruits. Live not for the fruit of action, nor attach yourself to inaction.”

Where we are as a culture reflects this and speaks to the lack of connection and the deep-rooted disharmony many have with themselves, materialism, and reliance on others for validation. The false assumption that one is not good enough leads to failure in resolutions. Too often, people believe that the external parts of life such as to-do lists and material possessions are needed to create their identities.

Most of us are familiar with setting an intention at the beginning of every yoga class. The power of intention creates a connection with the universe and our journey through life. However, a Sankalpa needs to dive deeper for the meaning of life. Do you wonder how to harness the power of intention and arrive at dharma? Understanding the reason for creating a Sankalpa is paramount to this, followed by taking the steps to make it purposeful in your life. Through practice and learning effective tools, one can adapt and maneuver along this journey in a resolute manner. 

No prior experience is necessary to create a Sankalpa! You can do this on your own or with a group of like-minded people or a sangha at a yoga studio. 

Setting your Sankalpa is an opportunity to reflect, discover, and gain clarity. It is also a time to set goals and reinforce self-worth. It becomes a place to discover your purpose, and informs you of a path or particular direction to follow in life and the action steps you will take on your path in this world.

It is important to remember that the universe is supporting you! You must first know what you desire and the universe will embrace you. This provides access to the energy you will need to continue on your journey. 

How is what you are doing in your life working right now? Do you feel distracted, confused, stressed, overwhelmed, alone, or feel you don’t know what you want to be when you grow up? 

Although, there is no time like the present, you are welcome to join us on our journey together on New Years Eve. This is an opportunity to join a sangha–a group of people–who will be practicing to gather and setting a Sankalpa for the new year. Setting achievable goals along the way will assist you in realizing and reaching big dreams, creating serious and profound life changes, and actualizing healthy lifestyle shifts. Over time, working on and practicing your life with intention can have healing and transformative effects.

The power of intention is a tool that you can use in all aspects of your life: relationships, finances, goals both big and small, family, parenting, diet, and so much more!  

Also, Sankalpas have no definitive time lines! Therefore, you can spend a class, a day, a week, a month, or even years on a single intention. Amazing, right?

Remember–and this is very important: Dreams are just dreams without goals. Sankalpa is a dream that has intention and purpose! 

  • Philosophy: Setting intention in yoga class can be very powerful, but using this ancient meditative practice is most effective if in a Yoga Nidra class setting.
  • Purpose: Setting intention is an amazing tool to lead you to your heart’s desire, a call to action in this world for you and your path.
  • Practice: On the mat, in yoga and meditation classes, and even off the mat and in the world. Daily/weekly practice is most effective.


  • You may join at the studio or virtually from the comfort of your own home. Zoom into the session via the Zoom app. Please contact Kamie for more information. 
  • Additional support is offered quarterly: around the spring and fall equinox, and winter and summer solstice.  
  • For future practice, monthly guidance options, and support throughout the year, contact Kamie (All-Access Kamie). 

Goals for the evening:

  • A guided meditation, yoga nidra, and very gentle yoga movements. 
  • We will create a Sankalpa, affirmation or statement, short-term and long-term intention or goal. Please bring a journal or notebook.
  • Includes a form of mind mapping and journaling – different techniques for journaling. 
  • Burning bowl to send off old beliefs and make space for supportive practices.

Leave a Reply